by David Wiesner. (Clarion, 1991 ISBN 0395551137. Order Info.). Picture book. Grades Pre-K+.
This is a picture book which appeals to a wide age range and its possibilities are endless. For those of you unfamiliar with this treasure, we start before the title page as we see frogs, peacefully at first on their lily pads and then slowly levitating. After the title page, we join a pond turtle as he looks up in amazement. The book proper begins at sundown where text says: "Tuesday evening, around eight." The frogs start flying solemnly at first and then with increasing glee as they fly through the town, entering houses, startling dogs and one man enjoying a midnight snack. The time is the only text given as the night continues. As dawn approaches, the pads and the frogs they bear fly lower and lower until the pads fall to earth and the frogs leap back to their pond, leaving the villagers to wonder at the lily pads left behind. The last page gives the time as "Next Tuesday, seven fifty-eight p.m." and we see shadows of flying pigs on a barn door.
Ask the kids to look for clues in the book that tell you what time of day it is. Notice details in the illustrations, not just the printed text.
Look for evidence in the book that shows whether the power of flight comes from the frogs or the lily pads.
Make one of the clocks in your classroom say the same thing as the time given on a page of the book. Let others look at the time and find that page in the book.
Look at the page that shows the town in the morning. Why are they all looking puzzled? What evidence do they have that something strange happened during the night? Who could tell them? What do you think will happen on that next Tuesday night? What makes you think so?
I use this book often with the technique of "Split Images" described in Johnson and Louis's professional book Bringing It All Together (Heinemann 1990 ISBN 0-435-08502-6) wherein each child sees only every other page of the book with her/his partner viewing the intervening pages. The two partners exchange information and try to recreate the story. That's only one way to use the book.
Since Wiesner uses computer graphics to create some of the sequences in Tuesday, it's an opportunity to use the computers to create other effects to tell a story. Also, Wiesner was a student of Van Allsburg and it should be possible for students to see the influence. Of course, the book itself sets you up for a sequel. It's a funny, clever book.
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